Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tag-teaming with nature to build nanomachines


Nadrian Seeman of NYU doesn't want to waste time building nanomachines from scratch -- not when nature has already done most of the heavy lifting for him these past few billion years.

In "Beyond Biology: Making Factories and Computers with DNA," LiveScience has more on Seeman, DNA and nanotech's softer side.

The first person to see DNA's potential beyond biology was Naiman Seeman, a chemist at New York University. More than twenty years ago, he began imagining how the genetic information in DNA might be engineered to perform useful tasks.

"DNA structures are programmable by sequence, and so are their intermolecular interactions," Seeman says. "That makes them unique."

Whereas nature alone dictates how most molecules interact, DNA comes with a built-in code that researchers can re-formulate to control which DNA molecules bond with each other. The goal of this DNA tinkering is microscopic factories that can produce made-to-order molecules, as well as electronic components 10 times smaller than current limits.

"Nanofabrication is where we are going," Seeman told LiveScience. "It will happen soon." More here

And, to get your nanomotor running, the European Union and the Max Planck Institute in Germany want to fund your Frankenstein flagellum.

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